Smoky coal ban ‘will save lives’

Air pollutions kills 1,300 people each year, Irish Heart Foundation says

The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) has today (September 7) welcomed plans to ban the use of smoky coal.

Regulations to restrict the burning of solid fuels in homes are expected to be in place by this time next year.

The new measures from the Department of the Environment, the IHF said, represented a ‘huge step’ towards reducing the number of lives lost to dirty air

“Air pollution is responsible for over 1,300 deaths every year in Ireland, with the vast majority of these due to heart disease and stroke,” said IHF Advocacy Officer Mark Murphy.

Mark Murphy, Advocacy Officer with the Irish Heart Foundation

“These measures will have a significant impact on this largely preventable loss of life as well as improving overall levels of public health.

“There is simply no safe level of exposure to air pollution, and while these updated domestic solid fuel regulations still permit the burning of some solid fuel with stricter standards, they are a huge step in the right direction and will reduce the number of lives lost to dirty air.”

Under the new guidelines, the burning of smoky coal, wet wood, and sod peat in homes would effectively be banned. But the IHF said thousands of fuel-poverty households in Ireland were still hugely reliant on these fuels.

In its 2022 pre-budget submission, the heart and stroke charity called for the introduction of a Green Transition Fuel Allowance to support and facilitate those most vulnerable in moving away from the worst affecting solid fuels to more sustainable and healthier forms of heating.

“It is imperative that the Government, in this upcoming budget, allocates significant additional funding to the department and local authorities to monitor, enforce and police these new domestic solid fuel regulations so that we can all enjoy the benefits of cleaner air,” said Mr Murphy.

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